Has a Bishop Helped You Heal from Clergy Sex Abuse and the Cover Up?

Click here to read: “The Latest: Pope lauds bishops’ response to sex abuse crisis,” by Associated Press, MSN.com, Sept. 23, 2015


Speaking before the bishops Wednesday at a worship service in Washington, Francis lauded them for what he called their “generous commitment to bring healing to victims.” He praised them for having courage and acting, as he saw it, “without fear of self-criticism.”

Editor’s note:

Kathy Kane and I think it’s very important to let clergy abuse victims speak to this topic. As a victim do you feel a Bishop has helped you heal?

38 thoughts on “Has a Bishop Helped You Heal from Clergy Sex Abuse and the Cover Up?

  1. What Francis had to say to the bishops, today, about clergy sexual abuse was nothing short of bizarre. I join a number of bloggers, on a number of sites, who have stated, “Clearly, he does NOT get it!”

    Yes, let clergy abuse victims speak on the topic. But let bishops speak, too!

    If you are a bishop who has helped a victim heal, SPEAK!

  2. Well, I asked to meet with one and I was told over two months ago that they would work on scheduling it. Have not heard a word. I was not important enough to merit protection from the Church 30 years ago. This silence makes me feel as if I am not important enough now. A very kind priest assured me that the Holy Father would not want my request to be delayed because he was coming to Philly, but that does not appear to be the case. Should I continue to wait? Will it happen and will it bring me any peace. Looking not so likely with each day that passes.

  3. The pope stops his car to stop and touch those who feel that he can help them to heal. Kind of stinks that the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia has put my request for healing on hold with the AD.

  4. No, absolutely not! While I hope & pray this Pope will do right for every survivor, Archbishop Chaput is uncaring with regards to me or any other survivors. I have asked repeatedly to meet with the Archbishop & I was first jerked around & made to meet 1st with a mediator who was working for the archdiocese to schedule meetings for survivors. After meeting 2 times with the mediator, he was supposed to set up a date for the meeting. However according to the mediator, the archdiocese cut off communication with him when he tried to set up the date. Additionally, back in May 2012, the Archbishop announced findings regarding, among others, my abuser, Fr Francis Feret. Feret was removed from ministry for boundary issues!? I had been told by a archdiocese employee the day before that he was removed because of what he did to me! So you can imagine my shock when the same employee called me the following week to tell me she had made a mistake, that his removal had nothing to do with my allegations, in fact as of right now, still no determination has been made by the archdiocese & Archbishop Chaput regarding my case! Anyway I have little faith that Chaput takes any of this seriously, I suspect he hopes people will just forget about his & others who continue to protect abusive priests.

  5. Susan & Kathy I am so glad you are giving this subject its own article. Like I pointed out from your previous article the first words that came to mind were “ARE YOU KIDDING ME” I tried to speak with a archbishop and got told “I DON”T LIKE TO BE PRESSURED”. I will not let the popes words bother me or let it be a trigger. What I am letting it be is something my wife and I can shake our heads at and giggle. However, that open mind I held for Pope Francis in addressing clergy sexual abuse is now closed. He may have gone a couple of steps forward but he just went 1,000 steps backwards for patting Bishops on the back.

    We did see this before though. When an archbishop gave someone a standing ovation, but where is that someone now ?

  6. I am not a survivor but I have talked to a lot of survivors, a decent amount of priests and even emailed Archbishop Chaput and got some replies. The bottom line is that there is a “us against them attitude” in the church in regards to survivors, priests and leadership in Philly. It was highlighted at the “healing mass” that had security guards at the entrance to the church. I mean really? Did Jesus use security guards ? but then look at all the money spent on the security of the Pope probably millions……..that could go to the poor. On another note I read about the American soldiers in the middle east recently and there was a story of an American getting in trouble for beating up an Ally Middle eastern soldier for raping a boy. Apparently it is rather common for the ally middle eastern forces to rape children in certain country areas and the American soldiers were commanded by superiors to ignor the screams of the children at night while they were being raped. Now this is being made known to the public. My question is did and is Obama aware of this? I think that is why I got shivers up my spine and sick to my gut when I saw Obama next to the Pope. Systematic failure to act to protect children just sickening. Could this be part of the reason some soldiers commit suicide when they come back?

  7. Chuput is a joke! I figured that out the first time I heard him talk from Denver before he came to Philly. I have had it with the hierarchy of Catholic Church! They continue to think they are waaaaay above the regular people and should not be approached unless there are cameras rolling and they brag about what “they” are doing for church. Get real and maybe people will come back. Abuse is something they want to continue to shove under the rug unless they are being sued and they have to address it. Again a joke.

    They get it (including Pope PaulVI and most likely this Pope) but they don’t want to deal with it. Can’t figure out WHY Pope Paul VI was canonized he knew all along about the ongoing abuse and didn’t do much as far as I can tell. I remember he had some kind of Conference in US regarding priests abusing people. What a joke that turned out to be. I watched the entire Conference and was hopeful but actually I think things got worse or, maybe that Conference brought people out of the woodwork and they began to talk about it.

    People I know including myself who have been abused, are still to this day angry, suffering and some continue to strive for FAITH in JESUS NOT THE CHURCH! Unfortunately some people don’t make it. Society calls them all kinds of names and labels them troublemakers, addicts and “cafeteria Catholics”, and losers. So be it. Jesus loves the weak of heart and also the sinners. (that includes the abusers’) I for one pray for the abusers but I wish church would do more not because they’re about to be sued, but because they want to make things right.

  8. The Pope calls the child sexual abuse scandal “difficult moments.” That’s unconscionable!

    Trump doesn’t talk about “Birthers” anymore, and the Pope doesn’t talk about child sexual abuse. To do otherwise hurts the image. For the Church and politicians image is everything. SOLs are to defended at all cost, using the peoples’ money of course. Kids are just collateral damage; can’t focus on that folks.

    1. “PHILADELPHIA — Speaking to hundreds of bishops and seminarians, Pope Francis on Sunday said he met in private with a group of victims of sexual abuse and he pledged that “all responsible will be held accountable.”

      ““God weeps for the sexual abuse of children,” he said.

      The pope, speaking on the last day of his trip to the United States, delivered his words before his prepared speech. He said abuse survivors “have become true heralds of mercy. Humbly, we owe each of them our gratitude for their value as they have had to suffer terrible abuse.”” (New York Times- 09/27/2015)

  9. I am going to pass on posting on this b/c I don’t want to provide an opportunity for a crass remark. The only way the VICTIMS will get to face the enablers & abusers is when the laws are changed at which time they ( enablers /abuers ) will be compelled to appear in court !

    1. I and I don’t know how everybody else feels but abazz30@comcast.net I believe that is exactly what the church wants. For us to disappear. To stifle us. I always hold out hope that maybe just maybe some lawmaker will come to this site and read what we are saying and do something about it. Sadly the comment Beth made about it feels like“us against them attitude” is so true. Why ? I have no idea. I never and so many other survivors we NEVER fired the first shot the church did. The catholic church has been in a defensive position from day one and I don’t see that ever changing. Beth brought up another good point that illustrates that. The security guards at the healing mass. I know of only two cases in this country when a abuse victim sought out revenge on their abuser that resulted in violence. Those guards were not there to direct traffic but the church taking that defensive position. I am so proud of myself and other survivors who never went down that road because that would only be stooping to a level we would never be able to come out of. I think your words matter even if it is to say hello. It shows the brotherhood and sisterhood we all have and we will not go silently into the night.

  10. What a JOKE! For a while I thought of the few good priests I knew and tried to stay in the church. But as the truth came out about the bishops and the deceit and pollution that trickles down through the system I realized there was no way. I could stay. Tried to talk to the local pastor who I thought was sensitive and he was so uncomfortable and looked like he wanted to get away from the topic. Dumped some platitudes on me and walked away. That was it for me.
    The pope visiting has had a negative visceral impact and I have an appointment with my therapist today to help with that. Should I send him the bill?!? The bishops are supposed to be shepards to draw people to the church but are probably glad to be rid of the likes of me. The bishops have done nothing but push people far away!

  11. BTW I have cases of several hundred books on Catholic spirituality that I have studied over the years. Quite an extensive library and a well worn breviary. Thinking of digging a grave for it all in my back yard and having a funeral for my Cathilic faith

    1. I have been thinking the Christian faith and specifically the catholic is a beautiful faith if the bishops would actually live it. I have lived in a non-Christian country for 6 months and I see the severe lack of respect for women and children in the middle east and asia and even africia. Where are all the refugees from the middle east going? They are going to the Christian countries ironically. They are not going to Asian or Africia although some are being held in neighboring muslim countries the majority are risking their lives to get to Christian countries. Why is this? Because Christian countries are more honest and respect the dignity of the human person as they are made in the image and likeness of God. Ask a muslim and they will say they are a “slave” to God not a child of God big difference in the thinking and all that flows out of that. Hindus have the caste system and that is how they are able to leave people dying in the streets the “untouchables” they call these people. When I got back to America many years ago I wanted to kiss the ground we have been very blessed in this country because we are founded on Christian principles and the benefits and rewards of that are all so apparent. Its the same for the church live the Christian life style reap the rewards of a peaceful and compassionate church environment but to do other wise has consequences also especially for the church leadership. I have read so many writings by the Saints saying that those in authority such as priests and bishops who lead the people astray etc will be judged more harshly by God and I would not want to be in their shoes and meet God.

      1. On a side note. I got to attend a sports game at my alma mater Archbishop Prendergast yesterday. And I was very happy to be there as I loved that school. Why? Because the teachers and nuns that taught at that school truly loved and cared about their students and it was palpable. When I had family issues during my high school years my teachers would check to see that I was ok etc.In many ways that school and those teachers laid the foundation of my concern and compassion for others and for that I am truly thankful. That’s why the total lack of compassion of the church leadership in Philly was so shocking for me as my experience of the church was so different but then I was taught by nuns and not priests and the priests I was later to find out some where on the AD list. I just know and experienced what a positive Christian environment should be and its sad that the corrupt priests and bishops have caused so much damage to the church and our faith.

    2. Suzpt,

      Wow, digging a grave and having a funeral for your Catholic faith, to me, is real faith. Your faith is real because you appear to be saying your faith has nothing to do with catholic beliefs. The grave is saying there is no need to convince yourself these catholic beliefs are true. To me you are recognizing what is true is within you, the Essential. The Essential appears to be real faith and this appears to be supporting you. This faith appears to be guiding you and is deeply a part of you. To me this grave is saying you no longer need to make your beliefs happen, rather your faith appears as an inner freedom, real, and such a satisfaction.

      For me leaving the catholic church and throwing catholic items away is a sense of alienation and separateness. Then I feel leaving the church has changed the comfortable and the familiar. Leaving the church is giving me this ability to surrender my familiar identity around my beliefs and faith. The difficult part, though, is this faith resides in darkness and identifying with this faith feels like there is nothing true or valuable to believe in. Somehow, though, this faith creates serenity. It is like this faith is a flow without resisting the darkness or trying to control it. This faith and your faith there is no effort or striving, calm and soothing. The grave there is no effort just this confidence to rest in God.

      There is such inner strength in your faith, naturally there and this is tremendous.

  12. Very disappointing to say the least, Is that how he is going to handle speaking about the sexual abuse scandal here in the US? That’s it? No more? I guess we’ll have to wait and see, but I do not have a good feeling here.

    1. I for one am not surprise about the results the way Pope Francis is handling or I should say ‘MISHANDLING’ the clergy abuse crisis.

      One BIG red flag was when Pope Francis went ahead with the canonization of Pope John Paul II.

      It was a show off event for preserving the image of the Catholic Church.

      My opinion…the Catholic Church is in a religious business. Faith and belief are strong products filled with past history, power, prestige, of course money is needed to continue this well known spiritual business.

      The Roman Catholic Church (male) hierarchy are using their historic powerful tradition, using prayer tools hoping their faithful followers will keep buying into their…this eternal everlasting life insurance policy.

      The victims and survivors of clergy abuse are being seen by the Catholic Church’s hierarchy as future martyrs and victims souls for the Catholic Church.
      It’s good for the Catholic Church business but not so good for all those victims and survivors who want JUSTICE now not in the life after they are DEAD.

      By the way…if I have offended anyone I am sorry. I’m just expressing my opinion.

  13. I too have a meeting date in the queue with Archbishop Chaput. I was told recently it would happen in October.

    Bringing healing to the victims can take on many meanings. I have therapy paid for by the Archdiocese – for the rest of my lift if I want it. Same for medication. So that is certainly a benefit.

    On the other hand – I want an accountability by the bishops – not a washing of hands. True – Chaput inherited a mess from the enabler Krol, the crafty attorney Bevilaqua, and the mute (was he even in Philadelphia) Rigali. So there was room for any improvement.

    One of my messages when I speak with him will be – my abuser will not bring down my faith. Your predecessors will not bring down my faith. It is mine – I value it – I embrace it – it cannot be taken away. It has been manifested in the caring thoughts and actions, the support and the love shown to me by family and friends.

    You – Archbishop Chaput and the Catholic Church – are the ones losing out. You are missing my talents – my willingness to give of my time – to help your Church. And, probably most importantly to you, you are missing my $$$ – for another cent will never go in the collection basket, to Catholic Charities or to any institution affiliated with the Archdiocese.

    And if I got the phone call to meet tomorrow with the Pope – the same words would come out of my mouth.

    1. owlfan,

      Your faith is courageous and is a refreshing breeze. There appears to be this unshakable inner peace from your faith and it offers this Divine touch. Thank you for significance of your faith within you.

      1. Syd,
        The main reason I write on this blog is because I don’t want survivor’s to have their faith in God stolen away by evil men. Evil comes in many disguises as our survivors and you know sadly all too well. It is our / my moral obligation as Christian and Catholic to back up what I/we say with actions and that’s why I am glad there is this site and there are good people both catholic and noncatholic working on changing the laws which is so encouraging to me and many on this site. I know there is a God that loves us and the devil doesn’t want us to believe that. If we look at people we are discouraged but if we focus on God or what you call the Divine we are raised up to a beautiful place of hope and love.

        1. Your faith is excellent Beth and is your gift to us. Your faith appears like a spiritual event for you and this is difficult for me to describe. Yet your faith is real and appears as a decisive power within you. Your center appears as a new force entering the world and offering this enormous dignity. I say this because you appear full present as an individual and you simply bring your faith as your presence and as an individual. Thank you and your presence is significant!!!

  14. I am truly happy that Owlfan has at least had the courtesy of a reply. I am feeling quite upset today, though. How is that I somehow have fallen off the map? One of the struggles I have always had was that I was somehow not important enough to anyone to merit their protection. Now,I am sitting here crying because the people who are supposed to be scheduling my meeting with the archbishop have forgotten me.

    1. C & C,

      You appear to be sighing deeply, tears, and you may feel the hopelessness is plaguing you. Then on top of this you may feel the archbishop is mocking you, as he appears to want you to feel like a failure. You may feel terribly confused and racked with self-doubt. There may be points you experience a total blockage feelings, as if life is being drained out of you. I really cannot say what you feel C & C, other than this place appears extraordinarily difficult. I wish to express, though, there appears this deep value in you which allows you to be yourself deeply and completely. The profound connection this offers me/us is where we experience the depth of your heart. Nothing could be more satisfying, no matter how much this archbishop or the catholic church accomplishes. The depth of your heart is liberating and offer this confidence to rest in hope.

      Your heart is a healing force for us and your presence is deeply significant! Thank you!!!

    2. Dear C&C.

      Here is my learning about the institutional leaders of the church: people do not matter. Individual persons are not important. Read Chaput’s snotty emails and note how he talks to people. Preserving the institution and their power is what matters. This is about as far as you can move away from what Jesus taught.

      If there is someway we on C4C can be of help, just ask. I would bet you would experience just how important you are to us.


        1. Michael,

          “Arrogant, haughty, self-important, pompous, superior, cocky, big headed?” Yeah, I guess hubris is a more precise

          Here is the good news. Chaput wants parents of school children to sign a Memo of Understanding to indicate they affirm that he is the final arbiter of church teaching and law. Why would someone need that? And, why would they use a legal term in its title? He is looking for reassurance about his authority. Like the little train that could, except he keeps repeating “I Am in Charge,” I am in Charge”…The MoU could be used to preempt future law suits. Might or might not hold up in court but it is an attempt to cover his butt.


  15. C & C you aren’t forgotten, especially by other survivors like me, be strong & you will get through this.

  16. The head of the Roman Catholic Church should take his own advice and own up to the faults & dreadful sins against CHRIST, HIS CHURCH & GOD’S innocent children. He has a responsibility to do this and get it taken care of. Too bad if there are not enough clergy to keep things going. They need to be punished by the law . and put in jail where they belong. Forgivness yes, but pay the piper for what you did so it does not ever happen agaiin.

  17. Here is how one reader “Danno” re-translated” the Pope’s talk to the bishops at the NCR combox:

    Closer translation:

    I am also conscious of your relentless pursuit of self protection. You have shown impressive cruelty and complete ruthlessness in dealing with the victims of clergy sexual assault. I am impressed at your groups commitment to generously spending millions on church lawyers and using unholy hardball legal strategies to bully and beat down victims who have the audacity to seek mercy and justice from this all powerful organization.

    I am very proud of your mastery of duplicity, especially at proclaiming transparency and then using every dollar at your disposal to keep the information and files about pedophile priests and how you dealt with them where it belongs, in a secret vault.
    It is no ones business how we deal with our own dangerous criminals.
    I have observed how you have faced difficult moments in the recent history of the Church. In this country, without fear of prosecution, you have committed fraud by hiding money in bogus trust funds to keep those victims from receiving proper justice.

    I am proud of how some of you have secretly paid off pedophile priests a $20,000. bonus to quietly leave the priesthood and prey on unsuspecting children without the benefit of a roman collar as cover. Nor have you been afraid to publicly apologize and beg forgiveness from the victims of sexual assault and at the very same time do everything in your power to bully and fight to prevent them the mercy and justice that they so foolishly think that they deserve.

    You SAY whatever is essential in order to regain the authority and trust which is demanded of ministers of Christ and rightly expected by the faithful. This has been my strategy since I became pope and as you can see it is working oh so well.

    I realize how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you and I have supported your generous commitment to sidestepping accountability for your hurtful actions and in preventing truth, mercy and justice for victims of sexual assault by clergy.

    Brother bishops we are cut from the same cloth, I am here to protect you and show you my gratitude and mercy.

  18. wow and none of this would have been necessary if they had just done the right thing. Its sad. How foreign it sounds to say if they would have stopped the predators, helped the victims and protected other children.

  19. This Pope and the media are presenting images of him as if this were the real thing. This Pope, in my view, is working to make his role real and valuable. From this the Pope has adjusted himself to a professional and social role where he has lost touch with truth and has become identified with the particular self-image that he believes will make him acceptable. He has deceived himself into who he really is and what the church really wants. He even appears caught in a trance of what he thinks will make him acceptable. He is identifying with his performance and then he wants an improved and polished picture of church, rather than what it actually is. The image appears more acceptable and worthwhile to God and then we are expected to support and applaud it.

    I am tired of the images the church has created and the church leadership investing energies into building up their self-image. It is like they are more concerned with doing and being whatever will make them feel worthwhile. I feel the church leadership is lost in a role that they must play in life rather than recognizing the real value of the human being. I, therefore, want communion with the human being and not this artificial communion. Simple truth is communion and to me is why people experienced a profound communion with Christ, because he allowed everyone to be fully and deeply human.

    Thanks Dennis for this article and thanks for your courage and truth.

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